Round Three: More baby observations from a new parent and mother
IF YOU PLAN ON BREASTFEEDING OR GIVING MILK BUY THE DOUBLE ELECTRIC PUMP
Buy a double electric pump.
It’s $300 but worth it. Full Disclosure: I got mine from a friend so I didn’t pay the price, but I’d buy one in a heartbeat after what I’ve gone through.
I tried to be cheap at the start and I bought a manual pump but then I realized that pumping for 30 minutes BY HAND on EACH breast is not a good idea, 7 times a day.
That’s an hour in total, and it would cramp my hands to boot.
Of course Baby Bun wasn’t feeding directly and that was why it was so much work for me to try and give him breastmilk, but even if you are breastfeeding directly you might want to express breastmilk to give to your baby so that you don’t have to physically be there for feedings.
Therefore… you will be using a pump, because manually expressing is worse than using a manual pump.
DO NOT CHEAP OUT.
Buy the double electric pump from the get-go and you’ll thank me when you are pumping milk from both breasts at once and not wasting time in the process.
Also, if your baby can’t feed directly, or won’t but you still want to pump milk to give it to him like I am doing then you need to buy a manual pump JUST IN CASE the electric one dies or the power goes out.
I had 2-3 scares of the electricity going out or the pump not working with the batteries, and feeling my breasts grow hard and engorged that we went out and bought a manual pump JUST IN CASE.
You don’t want to end up having to go to the hospital as an emergency case because your breasts are very hard with pent up milk and you’ve contracted mastitis or something. Seriously.
I SPEND A LOT OF TIME KISSING HIM
I kiss his cheeks, his chubby little thighs, his belly, his head.. I’m ALWAYS kissing him because he’s so darn cute and he smiles when I do it.
Sometimes after a good round of 5 minutes on his cheeks (alternating), he twists away with a squeal, which I take to mean:
“ENOUGH, MOMMY! Kissing time is over! No more for today!!!“
You can’t imagine (before children) how much you will love having them.
I’ll be spending the rest of my life grabbing them, hugging and kissing them and telling them how much I love them.
…and I’m sure as a surly teenager they’ll also be totally, TOTALLY psyched with all of this Mommy affection in front of their friends.
HE’S NOT CRAWLING BUT HE’S PULLING HIMSELF UP TO STAND
He seems to want to skip the entire phase of crawling and has started practicing how to stand.
When I hold my hands out he puts his little hands in mine and lifts himself up with minimal support from me, and starts trying to take his first steps.
No crawling at all.
Went straight from sitting independently (after tripodding his hand for the first week, and then a week after, he sat without the help of his arm out like a tripod), to trying to pull himself up and stand.
Did I mention he’s only 6 months? O_o
The other day I caught him free standing (he lifted his hands off for a moment) for about a second and a half before landing on his bottom.
Update: He is still not crawling but he is standing and for longer periods of time.
THE CUTEST AGE STARTS AT 5 MONTHS
I think 5 months is the cutest age. He’s a little more independent, he starts trying to learn stuff on his own and doesn’t need me quite as much as before (although he still needs me, it’s less clingy).
His face also clears up from all the dry skin and acne, he starts growing this super cute little belly and huge thighs (SO CUTE) and his cheeks become magnets for kisses.
5 months is my favourite turning point of a baby’s development so far. SO CUDDLY AND CUTE.
Update: Still cute. And intelligent. He’s starting to respond to his name when I call him, and he’s doing things that are surprisingly mature. He’s very alert and focused on things, he doesn’t stare blankly in the distance.
I AM TRYING MY BEST TO LET HIM PLAY INDEPENDENTLY
I don’t want him to grow up being so dependent that he constantly needs me there to play with him and entertain him.
So I’m trying my best not to spend 100% of my time playing with him and leaving him to crawl around on the bed and floor on his own under a watchful eye.
I just check to make sure he isn’t hurt or crawling towards (or into) something dangerous, and that’s that, and I swoop in to steal kisses and cuddles when he gets squealy.
I really want him to grow up independent and confident in being able to do things on his own .. plus I’m also watching Game of Thrones, so that’s a Mommy thing to keep my sanity.
HE IS EXTREMELY ATTACHED TO ME
As the primary caregiver, he is super attached to me and sensitive.
Near the end of the day around 5 p.m., he only wants me at night. My mother noticed this with the other children too — that they all want their main caregiver when it gets closer to bedtime, so that they feel secure.
He wants me to hold him, cuddle him, play with him.. and he squeals in protest / fear when he doesn’t see me nearby, even though Daddy is around.
He always, ALWAYS checks to see if I am still in the room. There is never a long period of time (15 minutes is a long time in Baby World) where he doesn’t check to see where I am at least once.
He swivels his head around, twists, looks up, smiles and checks to see where I am.. it’s both rewarding and making me a bit nervous for when I will have to go back to work.
Update: Now that I’m back at work and Daddy is full-time at home, it took a week to transition. He cried a lot, rubbernecked to look for me, Daddy had to learn how to decipher his squeals and cries… it was a bit of a rough start, but things are going a lot better now.
My partner feels way more comfortable taking him out in the car, stroller, taking care of him, feeding him, etc, than he did when I was the primary caregiver.
Now he smiles and looks for both of us (me more than my partner for now, though).
I really think Dads should spend time with their kids. Alone time. And give Mommy a lot of Mommy time.
HE DOESN’T WANT TO EAT AND THEN GETS CRANKY WHEN HE DOESN’T EAT.. GARRRGHH!!!!
Something I noticed is that he’ll be crying and I KNOW he wants to eat.
I can see him give me the hungry signs — drooling, eating his hand / arm, crying, squirming… and when I try to give him a bottle he won’t take it.
It’s REALLY frustrating.
Then I try again, and he won’t take it even with the nipple in his mouth. I have to shake the bottle in front of his face and sing: Milky milky! … before he gets distracted, calms down, and THEN takes the bottle.
Or sometimes I have to flip him on his belly, pat his butt to sleep for about 25 seconds while he cries and flails his arms and legs, and then pick him back up to feed him (then he’ll have his eyes closed somewhat, and take the bottle right away).
It’s a process. I don’t know what goes on in his head but … that’s what I’ve noticed happening almost every time it’s time to nurse to sleep.
(Yes I am nursing him to sleep and I dun care. It works and sometimes he falls right asleep, no crying required.)
When it’s time to nap, he rubs his eyes, refuses to play the bouncing game with me (where I bounce him on the bed), and turns his head back and forth really quickly from side to side. His eyes also get a little red and he doesn’t smile or giggle in response to me.
All these signs point to needing a nap.
HIS NAP TIMES ARE GETTING SHORTER BUT HE’S SLEEPING LONGER AT NIGHT
His best sleep should be at night, and this is the case.
He has started sleeping in 9 hour stretches now, and only ONCE did he sleep entirely through the night from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.
We’re almost reaching the point where he sleeps at 7 p.m. regularly, and wakes up at 4 a.m. for a quick feed, then goes back down until 6 a.m. for 2 more hours.
Soon, it’ll get longer and longer as his belly gets bigger and bigger to be able to hold more milk (he drinks 12 ounces within an hour and a half before bedtime).
So.. I don’t know if it’s just a Baby Bun specific thing, but I was told that the longer the baby sleeps during the day, the better he sleeps at night.
..however THIS IS NOT TRUE WITH BABY BUN.
Yes, if he doesn’t sleep at all during the day and doesn’t get a GOOD 2-3 naps of about 45 – 50 minutes in, he is awful at night.
He wakes up every 3 hours, cries, fusses… doesn’t sleep well.
However, if he sleeps more than an hour and a half during the day, he is equally as bad during the night, and wants to wake up and play at 3 a.m. when I am exhausted and sleepy.
The sweet spot is to let him nap for 1.5 hours and no more. This is no big deal because he normally only naps for 30 – 45 minutes though, and no matter what I frickin’ do, he won’t sleep any longer.
I went onto an online forum to read up about baby sleep habits (yes.. I’m a super lame Mommy now), and I was stung to read at how critical other parents are.
One super hoity-toity, judgemental parent wrote:
“People who tell me their babies only need a half hour to 45 minute nap each time are people who don’t care and don’t love their children enough.
I’ve done my research and bothered to take the time to do so, and learned that babies need more than 45 minutes to nap each time.
If those parents bothered to take the time to care about their children to make them nap, they’d know it too.”
My face: O_o
How can you force a baby to nap when he doesn’t want to nap?
Baby Bun just won’t sleep past 45 minutes, and he seems happy and well-rested enough.
He smiles, giggles, plays…
To say that a parent is an awful, horrible person for not forcing their baby to nap longer than what they want to nap, and that they don’t care or love their children enough to do so, is very damning and hurtful.
I’m also seeing that he can’t sleep more than 1.5 hours during the day or else it screws up his night sleep and he has started needing to nap every 2 hours. So he sleeps 45 minutes, wakes up for 2 hours, then sleeps another 45 minutes all the way until bedtime.
But this is all experimental. You should not let a baby sleep more than 3 hours, from what I was told, but Baby Bun can’t go past 1.5 hours.
Update: After going back to work, he has started waking up in the middle of the night for Mommy time. *sigh* He won’t eat, won’t sleep, wants to be held, cuddled and taken around the apartment. I hope this phase passes.
HE USUALLY CAN’T NAP ANYWHERE EXCEPT WHERE HE FEELS SAFE
Know how some babies just.. sleep anywhere, any time? Not this one.
He can’t sleep unless it’s a Baby Bun pre-approved spot. This means in the Chimparoo carrier, the car seat, the stroller, his bed at home or on our bed at home.
Otherwise, he cries bloody murder and refuses to sleep. When we go over to friends’ houses and try to get him to nap, I pop him in the Chimparoo and pat his butt to sleep or I put him in the stroller, cover it with a blanket and stroll him around the block until he sleeps.
He WON’T sleep on their bed, their couch, the floor, rug.. nowhere he hasn’t feel comfortable with beforehand.
On the bright side, the other day he was bouncing around, 3 hours later, refusing to nap in his bed and he just flopped over on a pillow on our futon and fell asleep. Just like that. 3 seconds later, head on the pillow, out like a light.
FIRST TIME EVER. I was so surprised, I started taking photos.